In Is It All It's Juiced Up to Be? featured in the August/September Issue, I caution against juice cleanses. Juice cleanses lack health benefits and won’t help you establish a lasting, realistic, healthy eating pattern. Whether your goal is to lose weight, improve your health, or detoxify your system, your best bet is to develop a lasting routine of whole foods. Not only is this strategy healthier, but it is less expensive and more fun! No budget-breaking juices or awkward need to proclaim, “I can’t hang out with you tonight because I’m cleansing.”
Simply focus on making half your plate seasonal fruits and vegetables. Get the other half of your meal from a combination of whole grains and lean protein. Buy local whenever possible, and organic if you can. No reason to restrict yourself to juices when you can enjoy yourself with a variety of delicious salads, roasted vegetables, hearty grains, and tasty smoothies (for meals on the run). I love clean-eating recipes from the June/July issue’s “Dining in the Stone Age” and August/September’s “Unmeasured” salads.
Need a shock to your system to get you motivated? Challenge yourself to a week free of processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, or animal fat (from meat, butter, or dairy). After a week, keep it clean by reintroducing these foods in modest portions, as occasional treats.
Get started with this clean-eating shopping list, focused on some of what’s in-season now. Add to it with your own favorite market picks.
The Clean Eating Starter’s List
Berries like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries
Stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, plums, and pluots
Melon like cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon
Summer squash like zucchini, yellow crooked-neck, and white scalloped (aka patty-pan)
Sprouted bread, like brand Ezekiel 4:9
Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes:
Raw nuts, like almonds or walnuts
Raw nut butters, like natural peanut or cashew butter
Seeds like sunflower, flax, or pumpkin. Try quinoa for cooking (it’s a seed, not a grain!)
Sprouted or dried beans: sprouted, fresh beans are quick to prepare
Olive, walnut, or sesame oil for dressing salads or cooking
Avocado: a healthy, unsaturated fat, great for clean eating
Clean Drinks and Treats:
Coconut Water: great for post-workout replenishment or for cooking
Dark Chocolate: antioxidant-rich, even in a small portion
Red Wine: A glass of the good stuff is good for you!